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law enforcementSwain County Commissioners denied a $20,000 pay raise request from Sheriff Curtis Cochran during a recent budget workshop.

fr swainsecuritySwain County commissioners know they need to address security concerns at the county administrative building in Bryson City, but they are still torn on whether they need to secure the entire building or just the courtrooms.

medicalMacon County Sheriff Robbie Holland has found some recent budget relief since Angel Medical Center took over supervising mental health patients that are brought in for evaluation.

law enforcementSwain County Commissioners are moving forward with a false alarm ordinance with the understanding that the sheriff’s office will enforce it with “common sense” in mind. 

Jackson deputy fired

The investigation is ongoing following a Halloween party at Dillard Excavating in Sylva that allegedly involved underage drinking and allegedly resulted in the rape of a 14-year-old girl, but the career of a Jackson County sheriff’s deputy who was suspended following the incident is not.

Law enforcement officers in Western North Carolina have been spending too much time and money driving all across the state in search of available hospital beds.

When magistrate judges issue an involuntary committal order, an officer from that county is required by law to transport the patient to a hospital for evaluation, but the shortage of available beds for mental health patients is making the process burdensome.

fr deputiesHoping to combat a steady departure of officers, Haywood County entry-level deputies will see a 5 percent raise starting in January  — the first step in a three-year plan to bring salaries of Haywood lawmen in line with the rest of the region.

Haywood deputies are among the lowest-paid officers in Western North Carolina. That means high turnover as deputies take higher-paying jobs in neighboring counties.

The Swain County Sheriff’s Office responds to its share of security alarms. Between January and the middle of November, the department has responded to 1,019 such calls — and rarely is there an actual need for its services.

“We may have one call like this, thinking back, where someone is actually in the house,” Swain Sheriff Curtis Cochran informed the Swain County Board of Commissioners recently. 

Chip Hall, D, 46

Qualifications: Chief deputy at Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. Twenty-five years at Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in a variety of positions.  

Reason to run: “I want to reach out to be active in everything that goes on in our community, to have a relationship with our citizens beyond anything we’ve ever had.”

Philosophy: “Community involvement is the key to a functioning sheriff’s office and a good community response.”

Favorite fruit: apples  

 

Curtis Lambert, R, 44

Qualifications: Former officer at Sylva Police Department. Fourteen years in law enforcement, including service with the Sylva Police Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office; former vice president of payroll service. 

Reason to run: “I have a combination of law enforcement and business experience, and that’s what it takes nowadays to be an effective sheriff.” 

Philosophy: “An effective leader will be someone that will have an open-door policy and an open-department policy to where they’re not trying to hide things that are going on.”

Favorite vacation: history tour of Charleston, S.C. 

With Election Day nearing, Odel Chastain seemed pretty relaxed. 

“I’m sitting on my porch with my feet thrown up, watching the deer,” Chastain said. 

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